Supernatural proves to be one hell of a series as it enters its fifth season.
A LOT of television series tend to be on a downward spiral after surpassing their intial seasons. Not Supernatural though. This series which revolves around the Winchester brothers (Jensen Ackles and Jared Padelecki) just keeps improving with each season. No doubt that it has a lot to do with the fact that series creator Eric Kripke had mapped out the story of Dean and Sam Winchester in a five-season arc, allowing him to crank up the plot to the point of no return and having the brothers travel along unexpected roads. So, while the series may have started out as a weekly horror story, it has become so much richer and layered. For one, there is the continuous story which explores the strong bond of the brothers that has been put to the test so many times in their adventures as demon hunters. Then there is that massive shift in the story in season three when the series starts including elements of belief, faith and hope. At the end of season three, Dean’s soul is literally dragged to hell by helldogs, leaving no doubt as to where the story is headed. Thus, in season four, we see Dean alive again after being snatched from hell by an angel, as commanded by God. In this season, too, the series paints an interesting picture about angels ... erm, like maybe they are not so angelic. Finally, the season ended last week on TV3, with Sam being tricked into releasing the Devil (yes, that would be Lucifer) from the underworld to roam the Earth where he plans to unleash a war that is meant to wipe out mankind. Come on, seriously, has there been any series bold enough to approach this subject head on? We think not. Misha Collins, who portrays one of the more faithful angels named Castiel in the series, agrees that the show started referring to the Bible quite a lot in its last two seasons. He explains in an interview in Los Angeles, the United States: “Eric told me they had a rule, any mythology on the show has to be Google-able, which means it is not completely made up and that the supernatural being has to be somewhere out there in some lore. “Then it dawned on Eric: wait a minute, there is this other resource that we can be drawing on, which is the Old and New Testaments. So a lot of what’s happening this year – with the Apocalypse – really comes from the Book Of Revelation.” Before anyone goes up in arms about this, fellow co-star Jim Beaver (who portrays fellow demon hunter Bobby) assures that the subject has been treated with great respect. He says: “I’m a preacher’s son. I grew up with Bible lessons, but I learned more about the Revelation in the last year and a half than I did the whole time I was growing up listening to my dad because the fact is, we don’t know for certain what a lot of that is supposed to mean. And I love the idea that Eric is saying, well, maybe it means this.” Beaver continues: “I think Eric’s vision of this show is to use these things that have coloured our approach to life for centuries as a way of looking at who we are as people. “It is not about religion, it is about people in the context of the things that give them hope and fear. “It is really interesting how well they’re skirting the edges of that, playing with what could be really dangerous territory. And I don’t think it really ever becomes dangerous.”
Shoot to thrill
Dangers aside, another reason why Supernatural is so appealing is its ability to weave humour even during heavier emotional moments and darker themes. Fans know that every time Dean and Sam assume new identities, in order to glean information from the unsuspecting public, the names they use have some known references attached to them. In one episode, they are Agents Ford and Hamill (a Star Wars reference), in another they are Father Simmons and Father Frehley (Gene Simmons and Ace Frehley are band members of Kiss) or just simply Dean Smith and Sam Wesson (of the Smith & Wesson handgun fame). While season five drives on the pavement of fiery flame – the Seven Horsemen doing what they do best and the Devil looking for easy victims – there’s still some fun to be had, which almost always arrives at an unexpected moment. In a very important episode in season five – in which the identity of the archangel Gabriel is revealed – the laughs are almost non-stop ... well, until the last 10 minutes of the episode when it turns deadly serious. The episode titled Changing Channels has the brothers realising that they exist in popular TV programmes. Having no choice but to play along, they exist within shows not unlike Grey’s Anatomy and CSI: Miami. Ackles agrees that episodes like those are fun to do. He says: “We do a lot of goofy stuff in between takes and I think the writers kind of picked up on a few of those things and decided they were going to incorporate them into the show. He adds: “I like that we don’t take ourselves so seriously that we can’t do stuff like that. I like the fact that the show throws in bits of current events and cultural references and that it is not overly dramatic that you feel drained after watching it. “We like to pepper in those lighter and fun episodes because they entertain people. Whether it is the laughing or the crying or getting scared or whatever it is, we want to be an entertaining show. And to have the ability to run a wide spectrum of that is a huge reason that we’re successful.”
Thanks to its growing success, the series has received an extension for one more season surpassing Kripke’s original vision. The sixth season, which is currently airing in the United States, makes the rest of us beg the question – what could possibly follow after the Devil lets loose an apocalypse? During this interview with Ackles, the 32year-old admits he’s equally curious. “I’m very happy that we got picked up for a sixth season because I want to see where they go after this. “Because Eric wasn’t going to go five years and stretch it out over six. He was like, ‘I am going to do the five seasons, I am going to knock it out of the park and then we will figure it out from there.’” He says he has greater anticipation on the script for season six. “Well, except for season five when I went to hell at the end of it and I was like ‘Am I going to have a job next year?’ “But then I have died 100 times so it doesn’t matter. So I’m excited to see what happens as far as that goes. “Eric is going big which is great, because when you go that large with the story you almost have to hit reset button, which is kind of what I am hoping to see next season,” Ackles conjectures. “We’ve known five years of these guys and what they have been through and now they are back to almost where they were at the beginning of season one, which to me is exciting because it is like you don’t have to reinvent yourself but you get to take everything that the audience knows about these characters and apply it to a completely different situation.” If anyone can pull off a return from the dead, Supernatural definitely can. n The fifth season of Supernatural starts today on TV3 at 11.05pm.
Angel Castiel (Misha Collins) has no idea how to behave like a human or, worse, how to flash his fake FBI ID convincingly, which may give away the game he and Dean Winchester (Jensen Ackles) are playing to glean information.
Hunter Bobby (Jim Beaver) getting a visit from a pair of ghostly twins.
Sam (Jared Padelecki) facing an angel who is bent on changing the Winchester history.